Saturday, 28 August 2010

Just when you thought it was a goon night...

Tonight we had a lovely evening at Metis. Fantastic food, great deserts, fantastic cocktails and expensive wine, well hey this is Bali, not their fault. As I said a great night.

We had just said goodnight to our friends and were making our way back to the motorbike when I noticed my helmet wasn't there.

I made some noise to rustle up some Sampat, thats local for security guys, and we all had a search of the area. Not a biggie, a helmet like the one I lost costs around fifty bucks. I wasn't going to make too big of a deal about it. That is until this guy, not in security outfit but with radio makes his way over to me, he glares at mr and speaks, well it was more like a snarl. Words spill out in which he tells me it's my fault. I should have locked the helmet away, I should have made sure it wasn't able to be stolen. In seconds it went from hero night to zero night. This guy really pissed me off! Have you been to Metis? This is a compound where you are screened at entering, this is one of Bali's best restaurants, right now there are 8 security standing around me. This guy was aggressive, his people skills sucked, he was right up there in my face. I was livid.

I demanded to see the manager. We stormed back to the restaurant I was shown to some guy still in uniform. I started to explain what had happened. A bule, a foreigner, approached rapidly, I was loud. I was upset. Not good for a restaurant to have someone like that in the entrance. What to do with a scene in the entrance of the restaurant? Take it outside. They were in damage control, the polite Frenchman asked the specifics while urging me to move towards the door. I met him halfway by lowering my tone. My beef wasn't about the loss of the helmet, it was about being treated as guilty by their, what seemed to me "head" of security. Funnily enough the Frenchman lowered his gaze, looked about and then he conceded that he had no control over them, that they needed to use externals to look after their security and there was no recompense, but what stuck me as odd, they were not allowed to comment on performance! Now what is that all about? I wanted an apology from this arrogant dude and the manager, well he couldn't deliver it to me. Money for replacement, from the restaurants point of view that was no problem. I should have said that the helmet was worth more. But that's not me.

I was unable to get my ounce of flesh. I took what little was on offer, I took the money, finally, after multiple refusals as I knew I had hit a stump. They gave me, what I now can sit and work out to be 5% of our bill. Not even worthy of a voucher is it?

Both the manager and I could not bring this prick to pay so we both sought the low road. Sometimes in Bali there is no justice. My only Hope is that karma will prevail and strike.

In respect to this I tell you friends just do not leave your helmet on your bike at Metis for the moment.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Rules and regs...

I have a friend and his daughter coming to stay and I have to go away. Now like all good homes I have a couple of idiosyncracies that people should know about so I wrote him a list. I thought it worthy of a blog post...

My home - The quirks and works.
Where to begin? Safety I suppose is a very good place. Power is the dodgiest thing here so lets forge into that. It’s 240 volts, though this isn’t always the case and can fluctuate a lot. If you have sensitive items, don’t use them without a power conditioner. They are expensive so no spares, I only have them for my appliances. Laptop power supplies are not super sensitive. In fact they are a great power conditioner and regardless of the input voltage should only deliver 12 volts to the computer. Having said that, I issue no guarantee or warranty. You stay and play on your own cogency.
My landlord, guru, smiley fella and otherwise all round tight bottom, reference to spending not sexuality, in his infinite wisdom and frugality, decided he only needed to run two wires throughout the house, not three thereby immediately saving 30% on his wiring bill. At this point I should probably qualify this as just my speculation but after 3 years, you could say I have a feel for it. So metal objects, like the cases to computers, my aluminium laptop, the aluminium keyboard, hard drives and even the case of my iPhone, when plugged into the mains tend to deliver a small buzz, which although not entirely unpleasant, are a little disheartening. Best to avoid these by not grounding yourself. Mats and chairs are good!
Should there be a black out, we haven’t had one in a while, you will find tea candles under the sink, left hand side and there is a rechargeable torch on charge in the lounge room. I tend to just go out if the power drops out early evening. Don’t forget if the power is off here it is probably out across the whole suburb. So you cant go local. If the neighbours are still lit up then it might be just a breaker. Check them in the kitchen. If that is all good go out the kitchen door, left and left again towards the laundry area, just after the water heater is the Mains. There is a breaker in there for the entire supply. I find Echo beach is good,!
I leave a couple of lights on downstairs at night, usually just the one set, switch is the right one of the set of three beside the lounge door. I also leave the lights on to the Garage and the outside wall. The switch for this is located outside the kitchen on the right when you head to the garage.
Lastly on the power, there isn’t enough of it! The island doesn’t have enough and neither do I. My poorly allocation of only 4400 watts isn’t enough to even run the George Foreman Grill & BBQ so don’t think you can run 3 aircons, lights, TV’s and have a hot shower at the same time, because you cant! Two aircons only at any given time or otherwise the kitchen will pop.
My computers are off. You have to understand that these are how I make my living and I have to protect that, so when I am not here they are off and password protected. Sorry about that!
The Internet is on and the wireless, anomac is the name of the network, is easy enough to get onto. Famous last words. I do not offer tech support while out of Indonesia, and while in the country you will be billed at RP250,000 per ten minute block. The password is (do you think I would put that here???) case sensitive. And before you ask, it’s a zero not an O. While it isn’t as fast as Oz it is a very reasonable connection and unlimited downloads. Knock yourself out. Up on Jalan Kerobokan is Global Extreme. About 1.3km from here. They have a very good connection as well as computers that you can hire, if you didn’t bring your own.
The lounge Audio Visual System has a number of offerings. DVD, Wii and on the DVD player in the lounge is a little box hooked up to a red hard drive. It is a media player and storage. The smallest remote operates it. It’s got some old movies, surfing movies, TV series etc.. some real gems here. The big silver remote operates the amp. For DVD set to DVD/VCR, for Media Player and Wii it should be on TV/Sat setting. I am referring to the line of buttons just under the LCD screen on that silver remote. The volume control is the only other thing you need to worry about on this one. Watch out it can go very loud! The black remote runs the TV. The main button on this is the little one above the Green MENU one called SOURCE. This switches from the three different input devices I have hooked up. Do not use this volume control; I have it set to zero. Don’t fiddle! DVD, well it’s a bloody DVD player. If you cannot use this then you are all out of luck.
We have about 1000 DVD’s floating around. Please use them carefully but put them back where you found then so that my kids and I can have the pleasure to lose them another day.
Chucky and Sputnik are my kids. Especially while my boys are not here in Bali. Pat them all you like, they love it and will fight each other for your affection. Do not lay a heavy hand on them!! Just as you do not hit a child you do not hit my dogs. I definitely do not like that. They bark. I just tell them to shut up. Live with it. It’s part of having dogs. So it is part and parcel of staying here. That said I want them to bark and more should someone come over the wall at night. There are plenty of thieves in Bali and lets not become victims. Sputnik is allowed out into the street during the day. Chucky is not, he would end up as kebabs in twenty minutes. Made will take Chucky for a walk each day. You can too. On a leash please. Both the dogs are very affectionate, they do like to jump up on people, even little people, forewarned is forearmed. Be aware of it and it will not be an issue.
Lastly look after Komang and Made and they will look after you. They are our Balinese family. They have been with us for nearly 4 years. They love to have a chat. They both laugh very freely. They will want to know where you have been and where you are going. You’re on holidays; slow down, take the time to tell them. It is not being nosey it is the way that Balinese are. They are trying to know your place in the universe. It is very sweet. Perhaps you ask them where they have been, where they are going and how their spouses and children are. Scratch the surface and be very surprised by what you find.
Have an ace time here. Yeah the chooks are loud as are my dogs, the neighbours are inquisitive and the next door neighbours are building. But all in all it is a great place. A place I feel at ease 24/7. I hope you do too.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The lengths some go to to advertise a product.

Ok I get it. I understand that these guys would want to drink something after what they do, but what they do is pretty out there. To launch V Isokinetic Colenso BBDO, Auckland created an extreme urban sport called Pomparkour. Pomparkour has elements of Parkour, Free Running, Pompier, and ‘Hakenleitersteigen’, a European event started by fireman who climb building faces with ladders at speed. Those that practice Pomparkour (Loonies) use a ladder specially designed and constructed with a large hook at one end. This allows them to grip rails, windows and ledges as they traverse and scale high buildings through the city. Thank god I have the cheat sheets, because there is nowhere in the ad that you see this. It's mad. Love it. You guys rock!